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Cornell University Library 

E 78.N5A72 

Indians of New England and New Netherlan 

3 1924 028 653 040 

The Indians of 
New England and 
New Netherland 



Price $ I .oo 


Copyright 1918 


Eugene L. Armbruster 



The writer has devoted his leisure hours, during many years, 
to the study of the history of the Indians of the eastern portion 
of our country. He soon, however, became aware of the fact 
that a certain knowledge, regarding the migration of these Indian 
tribes, was indispensable, to master the subject. Careful research, 
with this new aim in view, brought out two clues, i. Samuel G. 
Drake, Aboriginal Races, 15th Edition, 1880, p. 736: "Roger 
Williams informs us, that the South-West or Sawaniwa was 
constantly referred to by the Indians of New England. From 
thence, according to their traditions, they came. There is the 
court of their great god Cantanowit ; there are all their ancestors' 
souls; there they go also when they die and from thence came 
their corn and beans out of Cantanowit's field." 2. Letter of 
Isaack De Rasieres to Samuel Blommaert, 1628, included in Nar- 
ratives of New Netherland, 1609-1664. Edited by Dr. J. F. 
Jameson. From a description of the Island of the Manhattans 
we take this from the letter : "Up the river the east side is high, 
full of trees, and in some places there is a little good land, where 
formerly many people have dwelt, but who for the most part 
died or have been driven away by the Wappenos." These two 
paragraphs had been printed and reprinted, read and read again 
by many students of history, and by thousands of general readers, 
but they had been either misinterpreted or passed over as his- 
torical statements, which had to be looked upon as such and 
with which nothing further could be done, as details were 

Roger Williams understood the term South-West to be used 
in the sense of a general direction, as a bird would fly south- 
westward. The Indians, however, spoke of a definite locality, 
the home of their forefathers, known to them by tradition only. 
The majority of the New England Indians being Southerners, 
the name Abenaki or Abnaki, which is a variation of Wapanaki, 
if used to describe them as Easterners, would be a misnomer. 
However, the name was applied to the territory and denotes the 

Eastland. The inhabitants were the Indians of Abnaki. This ap- 
plies to the time, when the Easterners dwelt here, as well as 
when the Southerners took their places. In the second case, we 
hear that the Wappenos depopulated Manhattan Island. This 
might refer to an hostile attack made by a tribe or band called 
Wappenos, which perhaps took the inhabitants of the peaceful 
island by surprise. Details are not available and the statement 
is duly incorporated in the story of New York without any fur- 
ther comment. But these two paragraphs can be used as a key 
to the story of the Indians in prehistoric times, in connection 
with the tradition of the Indians and other facts, which will be 
found to read different, since the reader has been enabled to 
read them in a new light. For this reason the writer had decided 
to publish a brief outline of the story of these Indians, believing 
that others, who may have access to various other sources of 
information, may be able to build upon these foundations. 


The Lenape came from the North-West. A portion of the 
nation crossed the Mississippi River and divided then into three 
parts, one remaining inland, a second invaded Eastland, and the 
third took possession of Southland. Eastland embraced all of 
New England, as it is to-day, plus the former Dutch Colony of 
New Netherland. Southland was the land on the west side of 
the lower Delaware River and along the Atlantic coast from 
Delaware Bay southward. That part of the nation which settled 
inland was called the Turtle tribe ; the one invading Eastland, or 
Wapanaki, the Big Animal tribe, became known as the Easterners, 
Wapanoos or Wapanaki Indians. The third part, the Big Bird 
tribe, occupying Southland or Schawanaki, became known as 
Southerners or Schawanoos. 


The story of Eastland in prehistoric times consists of four 
chapters. The first covers the time, when the land was occupied 
by a nation of which few traces are left. The Matouwac, com- 
prising the four bands of western Suffolk County, on Long 
Island, I. e., the Nesaquake, Setauket, Secatoag and Unkechaug; 

and the Mispat and Chameken bands of Queens County upon 
Long Island, seem to have been of this nation and there were, 
no doubt, other small remnants left, which must be looked for 
among the smaller bands on the headwaters of streams in New 
England, etc. The second period is marked by the invasion of 
Eastland by the Big Animal tribe of the Lenape. The third 
period begins with the invasion of Eastland by the Southerners. 
The latter had been hard pressed by the Minquaas and were 
finally driven across the river, which was named for them the 
River of the Southerners, alias the South River, i. e., the Dela- 
ware River of to-day. They, in turn, took possession of the land, 
occupied by their one-time brethren, from which they had be- 
come estranged. The Easterners were gradually forced into 
various isolated tracts, where they were entirely surrounded by 
Southerners, and in some cases the ocean formed a secure guard 
on one or more sides. The fourth and last period shows both 
the Easterners, as well as the Southerners, conquered by the 
Maquaas or Mohawk, and made their tributaries. 


The Southerners called the Easterners "The Bears." There 
was a Beeren Eylandt in the upper Hudson River, another in the 
territory of the Canarsee in Kings County. Kanapaukah, on the 
East River in Queens County, was the planting-land of the bears 
on the waterside. Pokonoket denotes the place of the bears and 
the river leading to it, is the Pawcatuck or "River of the Bears." 
The Maereckkaak in Kings County, a band of Southerners, called 
their neighbors "the Canarsee," i. e., "big animal" band ; the 
Dutch translated it "the bears." 

While the Wapanoos held all the territory of Maine, the name 
Shepscot was applied to a locality on the Kennebec River, denot- 
ing "at the big stone" or rocks. After the Schawanoos had in- 
vaded the district, the name Penobscot came into use, applied to 
a similar locality on the Penobscot River. Penna-psk-ut denotes 
"at the stone (or rocks) of the Turkey tribe." These were the 
Penobscot Falls near Bangor. Champlain mentions in 1605 the 
Norumbega Rapids, and calls the Penobscot River Norumbega. 

The leading chief of the Easterners was called the "bashaba," 



SHABEjj Portions were occupies 
BY E AST e BNE ll< 

WHITE BY souT H.e R Nt as 

which name seems to denote "the buffalo," the largest of the big 
animals. This ancient title had originated at the time when the 
forefathers of the Easterners had come into contact with the 
buffaloes, during their wanderings over the western prairies; 
the last of the title and his family were killed by the Tarrantines 
(crane band) about 1614. The Easterners were known under 
local names, some of which were variations of the tribe-name, as : 
Wawenoc, Wappinger and Wampanoag. West of the North 
River were the Tappaen, subdivided into Tappaen, Hackingsackh, 
etc. Upon Manhattan Island and neighboring places were the 
Manhattans. On the east side of the North River were the 
Mahican ; on western Long Island the Canarsee ; on eastern Long 
Island the Sinnecox, subdivided into Montauk, Shinnecock, Cor- 
chaug and Manhasset bands, their territory being called Wampo- 
nonck, alias Paumanake. The Wappinger dwelt from the North 
River, above the junction of the Wappinger Kill (the northern 
boundary of the Southerners), through upper Connecticut, along 
the Housatonic, etc., to beyond the Connecticut River. In lower 
Connecticut were the Mohegan and Pequot. In southern Worces- 
ter County, Mass., was the Wunnashowatuckogg band, and in the 
central part of the same county was the Wushquowhananawkut 
band. The lower half of the Massachusetts coast and inland to 
Narragansett Bay, the land was occupied by the Wampanoag; 
Pokonoket was part of their land. The remnants of the Wawe- 
noc were known as Pequawket on the upper Saco River, and as 
Norridgewock on the Kennebec River. 

The Easterners called the Southerners the Turkey tribe, the 
Maquaas applied the name Goose tribe to them. The highest 
chief of the Southerners in New England was Passaconaway, 
residing on the Merrimack River. The Southerners or Schawa- 
noos appear as Sauvanoos, in the old abode of their tribe, on the 
west side of the lower Delaware River; as Sanhikan (from Suan- 
hican (in New Jersey; as Suwenoos on Long Island; as Si- 
wanoy on the main land on Long Island Sound; as Weskque- 
skeck on the east side of the North River and as Esopus on the 
west side. The last two bands were known as River Indians 
(Esopus, the river, i. e., South River). The territory of the 


Esopus was known as Schawangunk. In New England they 
were called the Turkey tribe. Here we find the names Siccanamos 
and Niantic; the first name denotes turkey tribe, and Sicajok 
is the land of the turkey tribe, Niantic or Nehantic (nahame-tuk) 
is the broad river of the Turkey tribe. Early writers say "Nar- 
ragansett River, commonly called Narragansett Bay." Nahame- 
hican-es-et, i. e., Narragansett, denotes "at the short (diminutive) 
river of the Turkey tribe." Nipmuc and Massachusetts were the 
names applied to the bands south of the Merrimack. Both names 
seem to refer to the residences of the chiefs. Nipmuc denotes 
the pond region, and Massachusetts: the great hill. Namepash- 
emet, who died about 1619, hved at Medford, Middlesex Co., 
near Mystic Pond. His widow, known as the Squaw-Sachem of 
the Nipmuc, lived at Wachuset Hill, i. e., Mass-atchu-es-et. The 
name Penna-ko-ok, i. e., Pennacook was applied by their neigh- 
bors on the north, the Indians on the Canadian border, denoting 
the present place of the Turkey tribe. The Southerners were 
then pressing eastward. The name Penobscot was used to de- 
scribe the bands east of the Kennebec River. Naantuket was the 
name given to part of the island, now known as Nantucket ; the 
name indicates "where the Niantic are." About half of the island 
had been occupied by members of that band. 

The Southerners had been, in their old abode, dwelling along 
the coast and upon the shores of rivers. They took possession 
of the lands along the coast and rivers in Eastland. They made 
villages at outposts ; that is, they made them at places, which for 
some time to come, were to be their most advanced points in 
invaded territories. Most of their villages bore the names of 
the bands which dwelt there, these bands bearing names of birds. 
The South River was called Kitthanne, i. e., the great river. Parts 
of the lands of the Southerners were known by local names, as 
Schawangunk; Kaakaki, near the Maquaas boundary, the land 
around the present Coxsackie, i. e., the place of the Goose tribe. 
Suanhacky, i. e., the place of the Suwenoos or Southerners, was 
the name applied to the western end of Long Island, embracing 
Kings, Queens and Nassau Counties. The tribe was divided into 
bands, known as Goose, Duck, Crane, Swan, Owl, Screech-owl, 
Gray Goose, etc., bands. 


was a subject for which the aborigines, as individuals, had no 
understanding. A band would claim a cornfield, while the 
planting of the land was done by that band. The territory of 
a tribe was well defined, bands would change from locality to 
locality, but always within the extensive limits of the tribe's 
territory. A band might have been living in the westernmost 
part of the territory for generations. After selling the land, 
so long occupied, to the white men, that band would remove 
to an unoccupied part of the tribe's land, perhaps on the 
extreme southern limit. Thus, when the Easterners invaded 
Eastland, the tribe took possession of the entire tract, from 
Delaware Bay to the eastern bounds of Maine. In later 
times the Southerners encroached upon this land and scattered 
the Easterners. The latter, however, sold the tracts of land, 
still occupied by them, without interference on the part of the 
Southerners. The last move in the invasion of Eastland by the 
Southerners was the ejection of the Easterners from the land 
at the mouths of the Piscataqua, Saco and Kennebec Rivers. 
This took place a few years after Captain Smith had visited that 
region. When the next white men came there, they found the 
Southerners located there. The Wawenoc, locally known as 
Pequawket, i. e., Fox band, had now retired to the upper part of 
the Saco River, while another part had gone Southward, and 
had settled with the Mohegan, occupying the land to the very 
shore of Long Island Sound, thus separating a portion of the 
Niantic from the main body of that band. Here they became 
known as Pequattos or Pequot, and were of importance for some 
years. A small portion located on eastern Long Island with the 
Sinnecox, at what became known as Peconic. The Southerners, 
now dwelling at the mouth of Saco River, were known as 

If a band of Easterners or Southerners removed to a new 
vicinity, the evacuated land remained the property of the respec- 
tive tribe and could, at any time, be occupied by another band 
of the same tribe. The Suwenoos on Long Island, t. e., the 
Maereck, or Maereckkaak, wtere divided into the Maereckkaak- 

wick band, with a village in the town of Brooklyn in Kings 
County, and the Matinecoc and Marossepinck bands in old 
Queens County. The Maereckkaakwick Indians sold their land in 
the town of Brooklyn about 1640 and removed to the town of 
New Utrecht. After the war of 1643-45 they sold this tract also 
and removed to the land inhabited by the other two bands in old 
Queens County, settling on the south shore, where they became 
known as Merric or Merricoke. Their neighbors, the Canarsee, 
a band of Easterners, were also forced to remove after the war, 
and they settled across the North River above the Tappaen. The 
other division of this band, known as Rockaway, settled in Morris 
County, N. J., on the Rockaway River. After the departure of 
the Canarsee the Sinnecox bands were the sole surviving East- 
erners on Long Island, and the Montauk chief, who had the 
approval of the governors of the English Colonies, laid claim to 
the entire island. Manhattan Island, called by the Easterners 
Manahatouh, i. e., the place where timber is procured for bows 
and arrows," and by the Maquaas, Kanon newage, i. e., "pipe 
place," was sold to the Dutch in 1626. The old Manhatesen 
(Dutch plural form) removed to the land between the North 
River and Hackensack River, within the limits of the Easterners. 
On Lucini's map of 1648, this tract, between the two rivers, is 
called Isola Manhattan, i. e., Island of the Manhattans. Some of 
the Manhattan Indians removed to Naieck in the town of New 
Utrecht upon Long Island, some time after the Maereckkaakwick 
Indians had evacuated the place. The Manhattan Indians looked 
upon Naieck, or Nayack, as a part of their tribe's (t. e., the 
Easterners) territory, open for occupancy by any band of East- 
erners. They removed later to Hespatingh, near Hackingsackh, 
in N. J., where they were Hving in 1658. Six years later they, 
together with some Indians from Staten Island, sold the Eliza- 
bethtown tract in N. J. Staten Island was sold in 1657 by chiefs 
from Tappaen, Hackingsackh, Aquackanonck, Haverstroo, 
Nayack, etc. The Nayack land, or rather their interest in it, was 
sold by the Manhattan and Maereckkaakwick Indians in 1652. 
This purchase was made to secure a clear Indian title to the land, 
to which both the Easterners and Southerners might lay claims. 


There were four rivers of importance within the limits of 
Eastland, besides those forming boundaries, i. e., the Delaware 
and Mohawk Rivers. The Long Island Sound was considered 
a river ; it was the main river of the Wapanoos. The Pawcatuck, 
i. e., river of the bears, was looked upon as the continuation of 
the Sound, because it was their way of communication with their 
northern territory. The Long Island Sound, and the Pawcatuck 
together were called the river of the Easterners, and the Dutch 
translated the name as Oost Rivier, and Pawcatuck as Oost 
Riviertjen. Then there were the North River and the Con- 
necticut River. The bands dwelling upon their shores were 
called Mohican, alias Mahican, Morhican and Mohegan. These 
variations denote River Indians, literally "the" river, i. e., Indians 
of "the" river. The Indians on the North River took their name 
from the river and later, in turn, the river was named after them 
Mohicannittuck, to distinguish it from the South River. The Con- 
necticut is called the "long river" (of the Southerners), in oppo- 
sition to the short river, i. e., Narragansett Bay. 


In 1617 the Iroquois made a treaty with the Dutch, the 
Maquaas having arranged the details. Jacob Eelkins, the man 
who had built the fort on the upper Hudson River, represented 
the Dutch. By this treaty the Dutch received permission from 
the Five Nations to trade and to erect trading-posts within the 
territory of the latters' tributaries, i. e., in Eastland. Upon this 
treaty the Dutch claim to New England was founded. 

The Eastern District of Brooklyn 

embracing the former City of Williamsburgh, 
the towns of Bushwick and New Lots, and the 
Bedford and Cripplebush settlements in the 
former City of Brooklyn ; with 50 pen and ink 
sketches by Eugene L. Armbruster. 

Size 5x7; Cloth Binding; pp. 205 with 
General Index and 2 Folding Maps. 

Published in 1912. Price $2.00 postpaid. 



Published as a number of the Eagle Library 
in 1 9 14; with 40 pen and ink sketches by 
Eugene L. Armbruster. 

Size 8x11; Paper Wrapper; pp. 96 with 
General Index. Price 35 cents postpaid. 


263 Eldert Street, Brooklyn, N. Y. 


' Syrocuse, N. Y. 

' Slockton, Calif. 




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